Review - Biology lessons - minus the science
"I think science can find me the perfect man. Because they're scientists, right? They can find out anything."
So says 21-year-old Dannie, one of hundreds of single people who have volunteered to be matched "by science" (and BBC Three) with a potential partner.
Unfortunately, very little airtime during new series The Year of Making Love is given over to the actual "science" involved. Essentially, personality-profiler Thomas and behavioural-psychologist Emma have analysed the assembled single masses and paired them off with one another. Imagine Yente, the matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof, if she exchanged the layered shawls for a lab coat.
Dannie, however, witnesses science in action. She has a weakness for a man with a tan; the matchmakers pair her with Ellis. "Fake tan?" Dannie asks. "No, sunbed," Ellis says. "Oh my God. Actual science is real," Dannie says.
There endeth the science part. Now we follow 22-year-old Rogan and 29-year-old Natalie as they go on their first date. Rogan begins by introducing Natalie to his parents. Natalie begins by asking Rogan what his intentions are and insisting that she is not going to sleep with him on the first date. The viewers begin to understand why these people are single.
The next morning, however, the camera greets a sleeping Rogan somewhere that is definitely not a sofa. Natalie looks embarrassed; the camera lingers on their soiled sheets. I feel a bit soiled, too. "As long as you don't think I'm some kind of floozy," Natalie says, before breakfast. "I know you're not like that," Rogan says. "Cool," Natalie says. This is excruciating. No one should be forced to have their morning-after conversation broadcast to the nation.
Elsewhere, personal trainer Andy and student Kirsty have spent #163;120 each on phone calls to one another since they were introduced. Andy has invited Kirsty over to his flat for a three-course dinner. "It's like a restaurant," a delighted Kirsty says. "Except they don't do microwave rice in a restaurant."
Unlike Andy, Rogan proves to be better at saying the right thing than doing it: Natalie waits for his call in vain. Dannie, too, does not hear from Ellis; viewers do not find out whether this shakes her belief in the reality of science.
But Kirsty remains full of the joys of young science. "It's so strange that science put us together," she gushes. "It's unreal. It's crazy."
The Year of Making Love, BBC Three, Mondays at 9pm.